Last week I went to a test centre here in Amman to take the LPI Linux Essentials certification. The qualification doesn’t expire and takes you from zero to dangerous in a variety of basic scenarios in the Linux operating system.
I’ve been using Linux for a couple of years now. (Started out with Fedora, then went to Manjaro. Currently actually running OpenBSD as my main desktop but mulling a switch back to Arch). I was getting frustrated with only knowing certain areas to some level of competence — usually ones where something went wrong, requiring me to troubleshoot. I wanted more of a sense of the overview / fundamentals.
LPI is the Linux Professional Institute. They are the gatekeepers to a number of different Linux certifications (and, coming soon, BSD certifications as well!). The Linux Essentials syllabus gave a good grounding in the history around Linux as an operating system, a number of core UNIX tools, and a basic overview of some things going on under the hood. Some of it was easy / familiar, but I’m glad I went through this systematically.
I’ve been studying this for a few months now, using a mix of Linux Academy videos and good old Anki. The videos were enough on their own to get a passing grade in the exam (they only have pass/fail, though you do get your final ‘mark’ as well), but I really needed the spaced repetition in order to retain all the key commands and UNIX command line options. Retention might be easier for you if you’re already using Linux tools / OSes in work and you have that practical repetition going on, but that wasn’t my situation so I needed something else to make sure I had it all memorised.
The exam itself is multiple choice, which I’m not sure is the best way to test if someone knows their stuff. The level of depth expected was sort of opaque, too; you get an outline of what they expect you to know in the syllabus, but the various books and online resources all go into different levels of depth in terms of how many of the command options you should know etc. On the plus side, it forces you to overlearn which isn’t the worst thing in this case.
I’m now finishing up Linux Academy’s short DevOps Essentials course. Parts are a little basic, but it gives you a fairly decent overview. After that, most likely in the new year, I’ll settle in for the long haul to study for LPIC-1 (AKA the Comptia Linux+) certification. It’ll bring me a whole new level deeper in my understanding of Linux systems, and I’m excited to get started with that.